12 Historical And Cultural Artifacts That Got Stolen In Little-Known Heists

12 Historical And Cultural Artifacts That Got Stolen In Little-Known Heists

Ah, the stories of heists. From the daring exploits of the criminal masterminds to the brave investigators who bring them to justice, these tales have been thrilling us for centuries. But what about the heists that have gone largely unnoticed? The ones that have been swept under the rug and forgotten about? You might have heard of the infamous robberies of the Irish Crown Jewels and the Stone of Destiny, but did you know that a German scholar saved the oldest complete copy of the New Testament from a basket of firewood? Or that an Italian artist asked Lord Elgin to send marble saws so he could take sculptures off the Parthenon? 

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Well, that's what we're here to discuss today. In this list, we'll be exploring twelve historical and cultural artifacts that were stolen in little-known heists. From the Olympic flag taken by a 103-year-old man to the Jules Rimet trophy stolen by two London gangsters, these stories are sure to captivate and amaze you. So, without further ado, let's dive into the fascinating world of these forgotten heists.

Centenarian returns stolen flag.

CRACKED THE FIRST MODERN OLYMPIC FLAG In 2000, former Olympic diver Hal Prieste gave back the Olympic flag he had taken 80 years earlier from the 1920 Games in Antwerp. He'd climbed up a flagpole and ripped it off, knowing he could outrun security as an elite athlete.

ABC / Youtube 

Robbed in 1907, still missing.

CRACKED THE IRISH CROWN JEWELS In 1907, the Irish Crown Jewels were taken from Dublin Castle in a robbery. The jewels were estimated to be worth around €5 million (around $5.5 million) and still haven't been found.


Daring Glasgow University Heist.

CRACKED THE STONE OF DESTINY Four Glasgow University students stole the Stone of Destiny, used in the coronation of Scottish kings, from London in December 1950. When the police found out, they closed the Scottish border for the first time in 400 years.


Gangsters steal trophy, Pickles finds it.

CRACKED THE WORLD CUP TROPHY In 1966, two London gangsters took the soccer World Cup trophy from a glass case in Westminster. Scotland Yard launched a massive investigation to find it, and after a week, a dog named Pickles discovered it.

The Guardian 

Stolen panels recovered, justice served.

CRACKED TWO PRICELESS 15TH-CENTURY WOODEN PANELS In 2013, two wooden panels in a church in Torbryan, Devon were stolen. Luckily, someone noticed them for sale online and the police were able to get them back.

The Guardian 

"Mona Lisa": From unknown to masterpiece.

CRACKED MONA LISA In 1911, three Italian workers took the Mona Lisa from the Louvre. This painting was not very well known at the time, but after it was stolen it became a huge hit and is now considered an absolute masterpiece.

NPR / Wikipedia 

Cleaner, yup.

CRACKED PRINCE FAISAL'S JEWELS In 1989, a cleaner who worked for Prince Faisal of Saudi Arabia took off with around 60 pounds of jewels and gems worth almost $20 million while the prince and his wife were away on vacation. That's some hustle.


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